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40 Years of Cooperation - Yamazaki Mazak and Mitsubishi Electric

11 December 2019

Two companies - One success story

On the occasion of their joint anniversary Mitsubishi Electric and Yamazaki Mazak looked back on their cooperation, which has now lasted for 40 years: a success story of two companies with Japanese roots in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

1969: Yamazaki Mazak starts in Germany

The Japanese machine tool manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak, which was hardly known in Germany at that point, tried to establish a base in Düsseldorf in 1969. It was not easy to set up a sales organization, as there were doubts in the industry at the time about a manufacturer being so far away geographically. By 1971, the company had succeeded in setting up a sales organization of twelve high-performance dealers.

It soon became clear that sales alone were not enough: in order to establish themselves on the German market, the company also had to offer after-sales service - maintenance, spare parts and a repair service - and was thus able to win over customers.

In 1975 Yamazaki Machinery Europe N.V. was founded in Leuven, Belgium, and in 1978 Yamazaki Mazak opened the first official branch in Germany, in Mörfelden-Walldorf. Initially with a small exhibition hall, later also machines for programming and maintenance courses and a small spare parts warehouse.

But with each new generation of machines it became clear that the operability of a machine is just as important as the technology itself. By the 1970s, Mazak was already engaged in an intensive search for a competent and innovative partner to implement the idea of a user-friendly controller concept. Mitsubishi Electric had already developed NC controller technology in 1956 and both companies shared the same requirements for technology, quality and, above all, openness to new ideas.

1978: Foundation of the German branch of Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric has been represented in Germany as a branch of Mitsubishi Electric Europe since 1978. Mitsubishi Electric Europe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation in Tokyo. Based in Ratingen near Düsseldorf, the company has been supplying its customers with high-quality products and solutions in the fields of transportation, air-conditioning and heating technology, automotive, communications, semiconductors and automation for four decades now.

After its foundation in 1978, the German branch developed rapidly. Initially, the focus was on the sale of consumer goods, but business activities were continuously expanded. In the 1980s, the company recorded enormous growth and extended the activities of the German branch to other product areas.

The investment and the move to a new, ultra-modern office building in Ratingen-Ost in 2015 symbolize the deep connection of the Japanese parent company to Germany, as the German branch is one of our most important locations outside Japan.

1979: Start of cooperation

Cooperation with Mazak started in 1979, exactly 40 years ago. The result was groundbreaking and was presented to the public with a sensational presentation at the EMO in Hanover in 1981: It was the Mazatrol T1, the world's first dialogue controller.

This controller saved the machine operator complicated calculations for cutting conditions and motion sequences. It thus represented an evolutionary step in the operability of machine tools. At the same time, it was the first major global milestone for Mazak as the world's leading manufacturer of machine tools.

This was the starting point for many other controller generations. Together they developed continuous new phases of innovation. Traditionally, Mazak was already known for its great strengths in machine tool manufacturing, whereas Mitsubishi Electric contributed its expertise in electronics and mechatronics. The synergies that have developed over time have led to a shared working philosophy, which is still very much active today. Both development teams continue to exchange ideas on a daily basis.

And the development continues constantly: the customer is always faced with new challenges. The need to reduce production costs and increase automation are just a few examples. This is where the 7th generation of Mazatrol Smooth technology comes in. The use of Mitsubishi Electrics' latest CNC-specific CPU with processing speeds up to three times faster and with an innovative and high-precision drive system sets new standards in the performance of machine tools. A particularly appreciated unique feature is the user-friendliness with intelligent functions.

All this has only been possible thanks to the intensive partnership between Mitsubishi Electric (ME) and Mazak over the past 40 years. And Mitsubishi Electric's latest future concepts such as MAISART (AI from ME) and e-F@ctory (I4.0 approach from ME) ensure that the innovation cycle will continue.

Just as the motto says: "Never change a winning team”.

For more information, please contact:

Frederik Gesthuysen
Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. 
Tel:  +49 (0)2102 486-4390
Fax:  +49 (0)2102 486-7780
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